We have talked about the Male Gaze and the objection of women. But what about the Female Gaze and how women celebrate their own definition of womanhood?
BASE Milan, which was “created to innovate the relationship between culture and economy” was home to the first Vogue Photography Festival in Milan, Italy. It took place from November 22nd-26th, and it is planned to be an annual occurrence. Some of the photographers who explore The Female Gaze and feature in the show are Cindy Sherman, Ellen Von Unwerth and Vanessa Beecroft who has her own solo show called ‘Polaroids 1993 – 2016’.
Curated by Chiara Bardelli Nonino and Alessia Glaviano; the senior photo editor at Vogue Italia, was the show “The Female Gaze”. Challenging the male gaze, a concept coined by Laura Mulvey a feminist film critic, in her renowned 1975 theory ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’. The Male gaze is a sexualized way of looking that empowers men and objectifies women.
Glaviano who grew up in a family of artists has redefined the meaning of Female Gaze. Talking to the New York Times she said:
“The female gaze is the reassertion of the women’s identity, and the idea of a different kind of beauty that is less artificial. Finally, you see people that are not too thin; one day someone has a pimple and who cares. Or, you know, someone with cellulite. So you see all these kinds of things that before you weren’t able to see”.
She praises social media for allowing women to express their unique meaning of womanhood with their friends through Instagram and Tumblr. It’s the Female gaze through the eye of the beholder. Social media has become a platform of expression, it’s as simple as – If you don’t like someone, then don’t follow them. If you do, then do. One trend that has appeared recently is the naked body. Expanding on this point she then said.
“Some feminists think that if there is a woman’s body that’s naked, you’re objectifying it. And I don’t agree with that. I believe that you always have to see case by case, judging the awareness of the subject and the motivation of the artist. Let’s not be so black and white, maybe there are some areas of gray that we should look at, no?”
For more than 50 years Vogue Italia has recorded innovating photography within the industry. They plan to continue and you can be involved by uploading fashion photography to Vogue Italia. This is judged by a panel and a selected photographer shoots an editorial spread. Are you feeling inspired? What does your female gaze look like?
Text: Tamera Heron